June 10, 2013

When I've been drinking wine and eating in the sky

Finished. Done. For good.

It's such an amazing feeling to finally close one chapter of your life and open the new one. The one that's been written on a sheet of promise for something bigger. Better. More pleasant. The one you've been desperately dreaming of, where freedom is resting on your shoulder and for the first time in a quite a while your day looks like the day  is supposed to look like. Felt. Experienced. Lived to the fullest.

You can now sit in the sun, recklessly and still, and let it kiss you wholly without worrying that right now, at this moment, you are wasting your time on something that's not important. You can count the raindrops heavily smashing into the ground while the mid-summer shower takes the stage for a dramatic symphony. Or you can take a nap while listening to the melody of a sun striding through the valley of horizon. Simply because suddenly, everything that used to be important remains only a poky sign of yesterday, while all those things once forbidden becomes your life. Your everyday.

It's like saying goodbye to the agonizing diet that you've been on for quite a while just because you thought it's gonna do good for you. The truth is, you were wrong, and now all you can do is to be brave, accept your mistake and move on. After all, that very first bite of a super creamy and rich chocolate cake that you've been forbidding yourself from  feels like an absolute bite of paradise. And that's a feeling worth all the efforts.


  "Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

I know I've been gone for some time. Unintentionally. Out of must. But I hope I'll get back on track very soon and somehow revive this sleepy blog.

After all, it hasn't been everything only about those busy days, sleepless nights and endless cups of coffee. Sometimes there was wine. A lot of it. Or breathtaking rise into the sky. Literally. Rise into the sky with (once again) a few glasses of wine and three enjoyable dishes in front of.

"Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

But firstly, it was wine. Or, to be more precise, "Vilnius Wine Days", where wine was pouring endlessly with every single sip transferring you to one of those marvelous vineyards of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Georgia, Hungary, Macedonia, Armenia and elsewhere. From red to white, from sweet to super sweet, from dry to sparkling as hell - it all was here, you just needed to ask for. 

How to pair wine with music? How to understand Chardonnay? What connects Cherry with Champagne? How to match beer with desserts? All the answers to those questions could be found here too.

And even if you were not a heavy wine drinker, if your wine perception was somewhere at a very low level, or you simply did not find a lot of fun in wine tasting, you might had still be enjoying a chat with a few cheese producers, chocolate manufacturers, bakers or coffee roasters. Not interested in discovering a new wine? No problem! Just go - taste some incredibly fresh olive oil, exclusive vinegar or just ask a very pleasant woman how they make blue cheese. You'll be pleasantly rewarded with a very informative story.

"Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

"Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

"Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

"Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

"Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

"Wine Days 2013" Vilnius

But "Wine Days" was just the beginning of those great and delicious experiences that appeared to happen this late spring. In between those boozy days and my annual birthday (when two amazing people gave me  an incredible present that is still cheering me up every single morning I'm getting ready to make myself a cup of coffee), something even more fun, more exciting and more splendid was about to happen.

   Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

50 meter height, cheeky red rooftops beneath, 22 guests, 1 table and 1 chef.  Dinner in the Sky is definitely something more than just an unforgettable gastronomic experience. It's the taste of freedom, intoxicating flight over the city with the wind mischievously rumpling your hair and the sun delicately caressing and flushing your cheeks. It's the emotion seasoned with a few palatable dishes.

A little bit eccentric and challenging. That's the appropriate description for the menu chef Alexandre Gouthier of French Michelin starred restaurant La Grenouillere offered this year for those who decided to grab their lunch or dinner in the sky. While enjoying an unparalleled view of Vilnius Old Town and its surroundings guests (among whom there was me too) were served  a toast with foie gras and rhubarb, avocado and monkfish duet, pigeon with basil and wheatgrass sauce, and "Vacherin" cheese meringue with "Garuguette" strawberries and balsamic reduction for dessert. All the dishes were washed down with lovely MUMM Cordon Rouge Champagne and medium bodied Jacob's Creek Grenache Shiraz.

Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

Do I even have to tell you that this magnificent gastronomic play set on a beautifully decorated stage of city horizon and a good company was something that just couldn't leave anyone indifferent and emotionless? You go up and forget about all the troubles bothering you in a course of your ordinary day, and that is the other ingredient on your plate. That moment of not having a solid ground under your feet. 

Cause we all need these kind of moments in our life, simply to remind us that we are not constrained only to walking. 

Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

Dinner in the Sky 2013, Vilnius

And finally, there is a new summer issue of Clouds magazine. We were trying to infuse it with as much warmth, sun and freshness as we coulde, and we hope you'll enjoy it. One might find some great recipes with seasonal fruits, fragrant vegetables, luscious berries, fresh fish or herbs as well as a fairly amount of inspiration for a summer grilling, interpreting Thai cuisine or throwing a Mediterranean party.

Talking about the latter, I would sincerely offer you not to let your summer pass without making a batch of baklava ice cream. For those who feel nostalgic about the Mediterranean desserts (that incredible oasis of sweetness) this creamy, nutty and delicately herb-infused ice cream will be something to indulge during these late but pleasantly warm summer evenings. Sinful cream, pistachios, honey, oregano and crispy phyllo cup - that's a balanced friendship, very successful both flavor-wise and texture-wise.

Baklava Ice Cream

Baklava Ice Cream

for ~9 servings:
250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream (30% fat)
1/3 cup pistachios
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp oregano
2 sheets Phyllo dough (25x25 cm / 10x10 inch)
4-5 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp honey, for serving


Prepare the caramelized pistachios: finely chop them and put into a small pot. Add honey and cook on a medium heat, until nuts are nicely caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in finely chopped oregano. Leave to cool.
While pistachios are cooling, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Carefully stir in caramelized nuts. Pour all the mixture into a small dish (preferably metal) and place it in a freezer, for at least a couple of hours, until ice cream is set.
In the meantime, prepare phyllo baskets. Lay one sheet of phyllo dough on a cleen surface. Using a pastry brush, brush it with melted butter. Put the second sheet on top of it and brush it with remaining butter. Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, divide the dough into nine equal-sized squares. Place each square into a separate muffin tin and bake in the 180oC (350 F) oven for 10 minutes, until all the cups are crispy and nicely golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let cool completely.
When ice cream is set, take it out from refrigerator and scoop into baked phyllo cups. Drizzle with honey. You might also decorate each serving with a sprig of fresh oregano.

If you are left with some extra phyllo cups, keep them in a sealed dry container. Ice cream can easily rest in a freezer for a few months.

Baklava Ice Cream

More ice cream ideas:

2 comments:

  1. Dear Migle, I adore reading your blog! You have a gift to render your impressions in such a way that a reader feels as if he/she were with you. Your dinner in the sky was terrific! And bakhlava ice-cream...I can imagine how delicious it is!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! So nice to hear those words!

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